The Workers Party of Britain – Birmingham branch stands in solidarity with striking refuse workers in Coventry and denounces the failure of Labour-run Coventry council to agree a pay settlement that reflects the skilled nature of the work performed by its 70-odd HGV refuse drivers, oblivious to changes in the jobs market caused by the exodus of EU drivers.
Seemingly living in a bubble, the council appears to believe that it can still get away with paying its refuse drivers the same poverty wages as it did before, with a miserable basic salary of £22,183. The council seems to be unaware of the fact that the rising value of HGV drivers on the labour market has increased workers’ bargaining power. With more employers chasing fewer HGV-qualified drivers, workers are right to seize the opportunity to press for the decent level of pay which they have previously been denied.
Elsewhere, employers have grasped the nettle and agreed to pay HGV refuse drivers a wage befitting the nature of their work. Plymouth council have recently agreed to reclassify its refuse drivers, bumping them up from unskilled to skilled grades, thereby effectively raising their pay by 12.5 percent, worth about £3,000 each year.
The refuse drivers in Coventry began their strike action on 5 January and plan further strikes in February and March.
The Workers Party of Britain – Birmingham Branch salutes their resistance and stands in solidarity with the workers demanding better pay and conditions from the anti-labour Labour council.